As everyone is spending more and more screen time on digital devices, millions of people have begun to experience digital eye strain—sometimes called computer vision syndrome (CVS). This is a common problem for anyone who works on a computer or tablet for their day job, and many others experience it, too.
The symptoms vary, but most people say they experience strained, sore, or dry eyes, headaches, blurry vision, and sometimes shoulder or neck pain. In addition, many people have sleep cycle issues and trouble falling asleep after prolonged exposure to digital devices.
As a potential solution to that problem, many companies have started offering blue-light-blocking glasses. The key concept is that by reducing the amount of blue light that goes from the device to your eyes, you can hopefully lessen eye strain.
In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about blue eyeglasses, including what they are, how exactly they work, and whether or not you should consider purchasing a pair for yourself.
What Is Blue Light?
“Blue light” is a term that gets thrown around a lot when talking about devices. Many smartphones and laptops now have what they call “night mode,” which makes your screen have an orange or yellow tint and removes much of the blue light from the display.
Light can present itself in a variety of different wavelengths, which appear to our eyes as different colors. You can see this clearly in the sun. During the day, everything is bright and blue. This blue light helps to stimulate our brains, keep us awake, and energize us.
How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep?
Because of this, blue light can have a negative effect on your sleeping patterns and circadian rhythm. Since most people spend their evenings looking at a TV, laptop, or smartphone, they often have a hard time falling asleep at night.
This is because blue light prevents your brain from creating melatonin, a chemical that signals your body it’s time to sleep. This is a relatively new phenomenon, though.
Come sunset, light from the sun starts to turn yellow and orange. These colors help to signal our brain that the day is winding to a close. It calms you, relaxes you, and prepares you for sleep, allowing your brain to produce much-needed melatonin.
Before the rise of digital devices, people were never exposed to bright blue lights in the evening. Now that most people have at least a couple of devices in their homes that emit these bright, energizing lights, they are finding it much harder to rest and relax.
Does Blue Light Cause Eye Strain?
This has been a controversial topic, as experts have disagreed over whether blue light, on its own, causes your eye strain and eye fatigue. The research seems to suggest that it doesn’t, but instead that the glare and brightness of digital screens are what causes this.
However, some say that blue light still does play a role in CVS. For many who have tried blue light lenses, they’ve found a reduction in eye soreness and strain, headaches, and blurry vision that are all symptoms of digital eye strain.
What Are Blue Light Glasses?
With the average office worker spending 1,700 hours per year staring at a screen, it has never been more important to consider the long-term health impacts of all this blue light exposure. In response to this, some companies make eyewear that are specifically for blue light reduction, but you can also find prescription lenses that have blue-light blocking technology, as well.
As we said, at their most basic level, blue light glasses are designed to limit the amount of blue light that gets to your eyes. They do this by using different types of light filters that help to prevent the blue wavelengths from getting through.
In addition to protecting your retina from exposure to blue light, they often have some sort of anti-glare coating, as well, which can also help prevent eye strain.
How Do Blue Light Glasses Work?
Different types of blue light glasses operate slightly differently, but the core principle is the same across the board. The glasses work by filtering out specific wavelengths of light in hopes of making it easier on your eyes to look at a screen.
The lenses themselves will often have a yellow-colored tint to them. This is because blue and yellow light are at opposite ends of the wavelength spectrum. The yellow almost works to “cancel out” some of the blue wavelengths.
In addition, they often have other features to help with your overall eye health, including anti-glare coatings, a prescription, and other measures. Each of these serves its own unique purpose in helping to prevent eye strain and CVS.
Why Should I Buy Blue Light Glasses?
It’s important to note that there are two kinds of blue-light glasses, one that protects you from screen time and one for sleep. The latter requires you block light in the 480 spectrum. Here at Look Optic, we focus on protecting from screen time which can cause headaches and blurred vision.
Therefore, there are a few reasons you may consider purchasing blue light glasses. First, if you spend more than four or five hours a day looking at a digital screen, they could be beneficial for you. Even if your day job doesn’t involve a screen at all, if you spend time on your phone in the evening, you may want to consider picking up a pair.
In addition, if you are experiencing any sort of eye strain, blue light glasses may be able to help. Our stylish blue-light readers at Look Optic start at $78, so you don’t even have to spend that much to try them out.
If you already wear prescription glasses, you can also have a blue light filter added to your lenses for a reasonable price. This can be a great option if you feel like using a computer or smartphone is hurting your eyes a lot.
Do I Need a Prescription for Blue Light Glasses?
While you can purchase prescription lenses with a blue light filter, you don’t have to have one. Look Optic offers blue light reading glasses, but we can also make the lenses with no magnification—just the filter.
You don’t need any sort of prescription to purchase blue light filtering glasses. You just need to find a pair that fits your style and is comfortable for you to wear.
What to Look for in Blue Light Glasses?
There are a few things to consider when purchasing blue light glasses. First, you want to make sure that they are going to be comfortable. With most people spending hours and hours each day looking at a screen, you want glasses that are going to be easy to wear for long periods of time.
It’s also important that they match your style. Many blue light glasses are all function, no fashion. For sitting on the couch at home this might be fine, but you don’t want to go into the office wearing something you don’t like.
Lastly, check if the company you are purchasing from has some sort of guarantee. Here at Look Optic, we offer a 90-day free trial on all of our glasses so that you can try them out for yourself before you commit. We even pay for the return shipping.
If you’re on the fence about whether blue light glasses will help you, a trial period can help a lot. It allows you to use your screens with the glasses for a few weeks to see if it helps with any of your CVS symptoms.
How to Filter Blue Light Without Glasses?
If you haven’t purchased your blue light glasses yet, there are other ways of filtering harmful blue light with most devices. iPhones and Macs have a setting called “night shift” that you can use for this.
It allows you to set how much blue light you want to be filtered out, and you can also schedule it to automatically turn on at a certain time of night. This can be really helpful, as many people forget to turn the setting on if they are busy working on a project or binging their favorite show.
Android phones and Windows devices have a similar setting—it’s just under a different name. If you choose to use these settings, they may help to improve your sleep patterns when using devices late at night.
What Else Causes Digital Eye Strain?
In addition to blue light, there are other factors that can cause strain on your eyes. The brightness of your screen, glare, and prolonged exposure to digital light can all lead to increased eye strain and other health concerns.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends abiding by the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This, along with increasing the distance between you and your computer screen should help reduce eye strain dramatically.
They also recommend consciously blinking as often as possible when using our devices. Humans tend to blink less frequently when looking at a screen, so it’s important to make an effort to blink more often. This will help hydrate your eyes.
If you still are experiencing significant eye soreness, you can also try using artificial tears to help keep your eyes moist and hydrated. If that also doesn’t work, you may want to consider contacting an optometrist.